Responding to these urgent words of Pope Francis, Columban missionaries have taken various steps toward protecting Creation within the communities where they live and work. As we know, climate change disproportionately affects the poorest and vulnerable among us. We are called as God’s people to protect these very populations. In order to fulfill this mission here in the United States, the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach advocates for protections such as:
- The new carbon rules released by the Environmental Protection Agency that will reduce our emissions by 30%;
- Opposition of Keystone XL Pipeline which will cut through communities throughout the United States;
- Supporting the implementation of the Green Climate Fund, which will assist developing nations in building a more sustainable energy future.
- Urging President Obama to lead on climate change.
In addition to our work on these vital issues, we also seek to stand in solidarity with those of our partners across the world who are also advocating for Creation. The Columban Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office in Peru has been involved in an interfaith effort urging the leaders of nations to take drastic steps in the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) meeting of the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20). Every month, they fast for one day in an effort to pressure government leaders to make significant strides toward the protection of Creation at the meeting which will take place in December.
The “Ayunos por el Clima” effort is one that we will take part in, as a chance to respond and reflect on God’s call to protect his Creation. To take part in this effort, share your photo and story with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responding to our call to extend the invitation to mission, we hosted a retreat and reflection on July 9 on the topic of Creation. We were joined by interns from Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. We began with a guided meditation, and watched the Columban Educational Video on Caring for Creation. The interns discussed how to serve as a voice for vulnerable communities affected by climate change, and ways that we can seek to live a life that is more sustainable.
Standing in solidarity with vulnerable communities, advocating for just reform and protections for God’s Creation, and taking time to reflect on our responsibility to care for the Earth are some of the ways we respond to the deep wounds of environmental degradation. However, we continue to pray for a just resolution to this ongoing problem and voice our concern as Catholics for this vital issue.